As you may have heard us say, reporters love numbers. Proprietary research and surveys offer you the opportunity to create news when you may not otherwise have it. So in our quest to be the best counselors possible, we had a sit-down conversation yesterday with representatives from Kelton Research — a leading marketing research firm in NY and LA — to discuss the best ways to incorporate research into any PR program.
What we left with was a very clear understanding of the importance of laying the groundwork to successful research. In the same way that, as Bill Cosby says, 90 percent of success is just showing up, 90 percent (if not more) of successful research is in the preparation. To that end, here are Kelton’s Five Rules of Research for your reading pleasure:
- Establish Clear Goals and Priorities. Clearly define what you want, and how you want it, from day one. Envision desired headlines first, and let questions flow from there.
- Identify your Audience. Two things matter here: that survey respondents fit your brand’s target profile, and that you can articulate the audience in a simple way with the media.
- Go Beyond the Brand. Journalists won’t directly shill for your products. Surveys need to transcend the brand to touch on a theme that’s interesting to the public.
- Map Out Your Deliverables. Determine what works best for you to tell your research story. A long PowerPoint for the team? A short, concise deck for executives? A Word document with prose? Establish this from the beginning.
- Create Reasonable Deadlines. Research often takes longer than you think. Build in extra time when possible for analysis, editing and fulfillment of the final deliverable.